Walk - Greenaleigh Farm

3.4 miles (5.5 km)

Quay West Car Park, Minehead - TA24 5UN Quay West car park, Minehead

Moderate - Pavement, tarmac paths, woodland footpaths, some ascent and descent

A gentle climb through historic woodland rich in wildlife up to open heathland, with magnificent views across the Bristol Channel and over to Exmoor. For keen geologists there is an optional detour to a splendid example of Hangman Sandstone.

Checked by SWCPA Volunteer Geoff Garfield- May 2020

    There are a range of wonderful places to lay your head near the Coast Path for a well-earned sleep. From large and luxurious hotels, to small and personable B&B's, as well as self-catering options and campsites. The businesses that support the Path, where you've chosen to visit, are listed here.

    The Beach Hotel Minehead

    The Beach Hotel is the perfect place for your South West Getaway, Apprentice run social enterprise, with a little help from us!

    YHA Minehead

    YHA Hostel including private rooms and shared rooms

    Bossington Hall Luxury B&B

    With breathtaking views and 9 superb rooms, Tennis and Squash within the 8 acres, and a private bar for the lazy evening.

    Exmoor Character Cottages

    Four luxury self-catering cottages in the heart of Exmoor. VisitEngland rated as family, walkers and dog friendly. Gardens. 3 hot tubs, 3 woodburners. Parking.

    Yarn Market Hotel

    Situated in the medieval village of Dunster within Exmoor National Park, we specialise in walking holidays and special interest breaks. Our independent 3* family run hotel prides itself on friendly service.

    Sparkhayes Farm Campsite

    Family site-5 minute walk to the village and its shops, pubs, cafes and restaurants. 20 minute walk down to the sea on the South West Coast Path.

    The Cottage B&B

    A cosy, luxurious, historic and friendly B&B in the heart of the village, close to all amenities

    Myrtle Cottage

    A comfortable thatched cottage built over 400 years ago, bursting with character and charm. All rooms en-suite, award winning breakfast.

    What is on your list of things to do when you visit the Path? From walking companies, to help you tailor your visit, with itineraries and experts to enhance your visit, to baggage transfer companies and visitor attractions there are lots to people and places to help you decide what you'd like to do. The businesses that support the Path, where you've chosen to visit, are listed here.

    Minehead Information Centre

    Maps and Guide Books for sale. FREE accommodation booking service

    Porlock Visitor Centre

    Porlock Visitor Centre provides a vast array of information for visitors to Porlock Vale, including accommodation booking service, maps, walks, things to see and do.

    Interactive Elevation

    Route Description

    On a clear day you can see the Glamorgan coast across the Bristol Channel, sometimes even beyond, as far as the Brecon Beacons, especially when these are snow-capped. Looking inland, Exmoor's Dunkery Beacon rises from wooded hillsides on the far side of the lush green valley at Selworthy.

    1. The walk starts beside the lifeboat station, with plenty of parking here and elsewhere along the quay. From here, turn right up the road, away from the town, and make your way along it to the roundabout.
    2. Choose the path through Culver Cliff Green which stays by the shore, and follow it along beside the water for about half a mile.
    3. When the Coast Path reaches the end of the green, ignore the path to the left, which takes you back to Quay Street, and instead follow the Coast Path steeply uphill through the woods, until it flattens out slightly and joins a track.
    4. Turn right with the Coast Path onto the track, and carry on through the woods, climbing rather more gently as you approach Greenaleigh Farm (pronounced “Grenleigh”).

    Greenaleigh Farm was once part of the Dunster Castle estate, belonging to the Luttrell family, and it was the main dairy farm supplying milk to Minehead. Dunster Castle, and its environs including Minehead, was given by William the Conqueror to William de Mohun in the eleventh century, after he had wrested it from the Saxons hereabouts. In 1376 Lady Joan de Mohun sold it to Lady Elizabeth Luttrell, and it remained in the hands of the family for exactly six hundred years, until 1976, when Colonel Sir Walter Luttrell gave it to the National Trust. As well as a number of follies and towers in and around Dunster, members of the Luttrell family were responsible for the erection of many public buildings around Minehead, most notably the quay, in 1610, and the open air swimming pool, opened in 1938. The lane through Culver Cliff Woods was one of their drives, and the well to be found beside it was also built by them, possibly as a drinking fountain.

    1. To the right at Greenaleigh Farm, for those seeking a short diversion, is a footpath over stiles through three fields, down to Greenaleigh Point.

    Keen geologists who took the trouble to scramble over the rocks back at Culver Cliff (see the Culver Cliff Woodland walk) will be delighted to know that the beach at Greenaleigh is even more rewarding for rather less trouble. Here the Hangman Sandstone Group of rocks are delightfully displayed, as are sedimentary and structural features of the local Devonian rocks, like cleaved slates and pronounced folds and faults. There is a relict periglacial slope and, like Selworthy Sand and Porlock Weir a few miles away, there is a shingle spit which shields a brackish marsh.

    The beach is also a popular place with anglers, being especially good for cod, ray, bass and turbot. (Rock-spotters and fishermen alike will of course need to consult tide tables first, and be aware that a tide over 5.5 metres will reach the cliffs).

    1. For this walk, however, turn abruptly left with the Coast Path as you reach the gate to the farm, and take the steps up to the path which climbs steeply once more.
    2. At the gate at the top, turn sharply right with the Coast Path and carry on with it, out of the woods and up through the coastal heathland on the seaward slopes of North Hill.

    Here the landscape is suddenly exposed, with banks of gorse and swathes of heather and bracken but only the occasional hawthorn or birch rising out of this vegetation.The smoking chimneys you can sometimes see on the Welsh coast are the power station and cement works at Aberthaw, and the lighthouse is at Nash Point.

    1. A mile or so later, you arrive at the top of the hill, with its seat & path junction. Here you leave the Coast Path as it turns right and heads uphill, marked Bossington 4. Instead, turn sharp left on  the bridleway marked Minehead 2.

    2. Follow the bridleway back along the hillside, past some concrete world war 2 buildings, and into the wood.
    3. When a path crosses yours, heading uphill towards the edge of the wood, stay with your bridleway, travelling gently downhill below the wood.
    4. Ignoring a second bridleway about a quarter of a mile on, which crosses from the Coast Path into Moor Wood on your right, carry on along your own, also ignoring the network of small paths around you snaking away into the woods.
    5. Where the bridleway forks, take the broader track to the left, which follows the Luttrell’s drive down through the woods towards a road.
    6. At a path junction, just before the first house and the road, turn left on to the footpath marked Minehead 2/3. This will take you down a series of zig zags through the woods, crossing Beacon Road, and descending towards the sea. Descend the set of steps towards the bottom, which will return you to the sculpture at the start of the Coast Path. Go left to return to the lifeboat station.

    Public transport

    Minehead is easily reached by bus from many nearby towns and villages. For timetable information, zoom in on the interactive map and click on the bus stops, visit Traveline or phone 0871 200 22 33.


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